Click on the syllabus link above, or scroll down, to get to the course schedule and all requirements. Please check here often for up-to-date information and announcements regarding the class.


Spring 2018
Robert Ransick [rransick at bennington.edu]
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
Time: Thursday, 8:00AM – 11:40AM

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to creative practices within digital technologies specifically focused on Internet based fine art projects. A broad survey of web-based digital arts is examined in tandem with an overview of tools necessary to create your own work. These include HTML, CSS, Photoshop, content management systems, and a basic introduction to JavaScript. Students apply knowledge and skills to web-based creative projects throughout the term. There are lectures, reading assignments, studio projects, and critiques during the course designed to aid the student in developing visual literacy and critical thinking skills in relation to the digital arts.

Active student participation throughout all aspects of this course will make your experience much more meaningful and is necessary for the successful completion of the assigned work. There are reading/research assignments, weekly discussions, student presentations, critiques and the production of work during this course. Students are expected to be present for all class meetings. Please email me if you must miss a class. Chronic lateness and/or more than 2 absences will seriously jeopardize your standing in this course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following: Participation/attitude, creative/conceptual work, technical dexterity and progress over the term.

I would like you to commit to the following this semester:

  1. That you will be respectful of both your peers and my time and efforts with your own: that you will work your hardest, be self-motivated, learn through trial and failure and share what you learn and/or know freely with all.
  2. Push yourself beyond the bounds of your comfort zone and be brave, adventurous and surprising.

Midterm Project:
The first portion of the term will be focused on learning the skills necessary to build a personal website for each student to house their ongoing creative work etc. We will look at principles of web design, information architecture, image optimization and best practice strategies.

Final Project:
Building on class readings and skills acquired students create a web-based artistic project of their own design. The instructor must approve projects and all work is to be located on individual websites. Please note that the final is to be an artistic project — designing your friends website etc. will not be acceptable.

>> Late work is not accepted!<<

All students are expected to contribute in class on a regular basis. Each student is also expected to create and maintain a personal website for this class. All research, documentation, and creative work should be posted on your site for peer review. Individual websites should be updated regularly and include all of your work for this course. In-class presentation materials should be located on your website.

Student Presentations:
Each student will be assigned an artist or collective to make a brief (10-15 minute) presentation on. Presentation materials — text, image, links etc. — are to take the form of a web page.

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Office hours/help:
I am available for technical help or to discuss individual projects via office hours and email. If you would like to schedule a time to meet please send me an email. Do not leave voice mail! I check email frequently and will usually respond within a few hours.

Anna Kroll is the Digital Arts Technician and has regular help hours each week. For more information, please visit the POD website.

There are no required books for this course.

This schedule is a guide and will change over the course of the term, check back often.


Session 1: February 22
Introduction to the course.
What is digital art? What is internet art?
Intro to HTML and BBEdit.

Session 2: March 1
Discuss readings and work.
Bennington server space/accounts.

Handout: Rachel Greene, Web Work, A History of Internet Art, Art Forum

How the Internet Works (All 8 videos, approx. 46 minutes. Take notes.)

Create biographical text-based web page inspired by Heath Bunting’s _readme.html.

W3 Schools HTML5 Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-HTML Introduction to HTML Colors

Session 3: March 8
Discuss readings and work.
Photoshop, site design and architecture.

Handout: from Art And The Internet. Page 12-33.

Student presentations:
Lali Cardozo: Natalie Bookchin
Toby Lewkowicz: Olia Lialina

Write one-page html document in response to the Internet Art reading using BBedit and an external style sheet. Discuss at least 2 artists and their work from the reading. Be sure to include links and experiment with font, color etc.

W3 Schools CSS Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-CCS Intro to CSS Fonts

W3 Schools HTML5 Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-HTML Blocks to HTML Head

Session 4: March 15
Discuss readings and work.
Review work to date. CSS Layout.
Image optimization with Photoshop.

Work on layout proposal.
(Don’t forget about resource links regarding color, type, layout etc. here.)

Chapter 7, Page Design from Web Style Guide.

Student presentations:
Emma Ogden-Wolgemuth: Vuk Cosic
Ahmad Yassir: Jodi.org

W3 Schools CSS Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-CCS Icons to CSS Align

W3 Schools HTML5 Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-HTML Layout to HTML Responsive

Re-create the one page reading (Art And The Internet)response from last week using elements discussed in this weeks tutorials (responsive pages etc.) Do not use javascript.

Anna will hold help sessions on Monday, March 12 from 1-3pm and Wed. March 14 from 3-5pm.

Session 5: March 22
Scanning. Work on layout proposal.
Individual meetings with Robert.

Chapter 4, Interface Design from Web Style Guide.

Site map/outline for student pages. Draft design/layout (in Photoshop) of home page and digital arts page (minimum) for meeting with Robert. These should be jpegs on your web server.

Session 6: March 29
Work on sites in class.

Student presentations:
Erin Keating: MTAA
Bibek Basnet: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries
Shelby Moore: Rafaƫl Rozendaal

Present revised site map/outline and design to the class for input. Assets for site should be ready (photographs, writing etc.)

Session 7: April 5
Review work to date.
Work on sites in class.

Student presentations:
Steven Hendricks: Michael Mandiberg
Maddie Shepardson: Minerva Cuevas
TBA: Mendi + Keith Obadike

Personal sites should be near completion (HTML + CSS).

Session 8: April 12
Midterm critique

Student sites are to be complete, on student server (your website) and working.

Session 9: April 19
Introduction to WordPress.

Student presentation:
Malach Campbell: Petra Cortright
Cameron Schiller: Martin Syms

The following sections about WordPress:
Using Themes

Session 10: April 26
Individual meetings with Robert (final project ideas).

Student presentation:

Ivy Stewart: Brooke Singer
TBA: Josh On

– First draft of ideas for final project. You should have a page on your website that contains a paragraph description of your idea along with sketches/images and a site outline/map. Individual discussions with Robert.
– Style child theme in wordPress to have a look and feel that relates to your main website.


Session 11: May 10
-Final ideas presentation

Student presentation:
James Mulligan: Darius Kazemi
Stuart Shugg: Yes Men
Martin Tse: James Bridle

– Presentation of ideas for final project to the class. Description of the project along with sketches, site map etc. should be located on your website.

Complete the entire jQuery tutorial on Codcademy (approximately 3 hours).
– Create a simple page that uses the jQuery effects.

Session 12: May 17
Work on finals.
Review work to date.

Session 13: May 24
Final projects should be near completion (html/css, etc) and functioning.
Working session to resolve technical challenges etc.

Session 14: May 31
Final projects discussion and critique.

Last class. Final projects due. (All work from the term must be complete and located on student web pages by the start of class.)